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Law enforcement to keep an eye out for intoxicated boaters over holiday weekend

Posted 7/2/22

Operation Dry Water will run from Saturday to Monday, July 4.

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Law enforcement to keep an eye out for intoxicated boaters over holiday weekend


With so many families out celebrating the Fourth of July on New York's lakes and waterways, the start Department of Environmental Conservation and other law enforcement agencies will be keeping an eye out for intoxicated boaters.

Operation Dry Water will run from Saturday to Monday, July 4, and will feature agencies from across the state cracking down on boating while intoxicated violations. The operation runs year-round, with a special focus on the Fourth of July weekend.

Alcohol use is the leading contributing factor in recreational boater deaths, officials said. Over the course of the July Fourth holiday, law enforcement agencies will work to increase public awareness of the dangers of boating under the influence for both operators and passengers, and will be making arrests under a zero tolerance approach.

“As we kick-off the summer season, we expect increased boating traffic on the waterways during the holiday weekend. While boating is a great recreational activity, boating under the influence is both dangerous and illegal and can lead to serious consequences including arrest, injuries and even death,” said Park Police Acting Assistant Director of Law Enforcement Michael Pavelock.

“New York State Park Police wants to ensure that boaters and anyone enjoying the waterways have a safe place to spend their time. Park Police is proud to join hundreds of agencies nationwide in Operation Dry Water to prevent incidents and fatalities related to boating under the influence and help keep boaters safe.”

Boating while intoxicated or impaired by drugs is equally dangerous for the boat operator and for the boat passenger, officials said. Operating a vessel under the influence of alcohol or drugs is illegal on all bodies of water and can lead to serious injuries, death and legal consequences. Penalties for BUI include fines, jail, the impoundment of your boat and the loss of boating privileges.

In New York, it is illegal to operate a vessel with a blood alcohol content of 0.08% or higher.

Launched in 2009, Operation Dry Water is an awareness and enforcement campaign with the mission of reducing the number of alcohol and drug related incidents and fatalities through increased recreational boater awareness and by fostering a stronger and more visible deterrent to alcohol and drug use on the water. Last year, the effort involved more than 7,500 officers across the country, resulting in about 115,000 vessel stops and more than 42,000 citations and warnings, including 638 BUI arrests.

New York also continues to phase in Brianna's Law, which requires all operators of motorized watercraft to complete a state-approved boating safety course. Adopted in 2019, the law currently requires all motorboat operators born on or after Jan. 1, 1993 to have a boating safety certificate. Failure to comply carries a potential fine of between $100 to $250.

Beginning in 2022, that requirement extends to all boaters born on or after Jan. 1, 1988. In 2023, the requirement extends to those born on or after Jan. 1, 1983, and in 2024, extends to Jan. 1, 1978. The law will apply to all operators regardless of age beginning in 2025. 

State safety courses can be taken in person or on-line.


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